Catalyst Biosciences, Inc. Expands Scientific Advisory Board With Leading Experts in Protease Therapeutic Discovery and Development

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Catalyst Biosciences, Inc., a pioneer in the discovery and development of engineered proteases known as Alterase(TM) therapeutics, has appointed four new members to the company's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Robert J. Fletterick, Ph.D., David Ginsburg M.D., Guy S. Salvesen, Ph.D., and Gregory Stahl, Ph.D., join initial members Shaun Coughlin, M.D., Ph.D., Charles Craik, Ph.D., and James Wells, Ph.D.

"We are pleased to welcome this distinguished group of scientific leaders to the Catalyst Biosciences Scientific Advisory Board," said Dr. Craik, Chairman of the SAB and a founder of Catalyst Biosciences. "We believe that proteases have enormous potential as a broad class of therapeutics, and are excited by the opportunity to provide counsel to Catalyst as the company advances compounds generated from its drug discovery platform into clinical development."

"Our SAB includes world-renowned experts in a diverse group of fields, including proteases, protein engineering, structural biology, cellular enzymatic pathways, blood clotting and clotting disorders, inflammation, the complement system, and immunology," said Dr. Ed Madison, Chief Scientific Officer of Catalyst Biosciences. "We at Catalyst are fortunate to have access to such a wide variety of expertise, which will not only help us add capabilities to our protease drug discovery platform, but also promote our drug development efforts in areas such as hemophilia and related clotting disorders, and age-related macular degeneration and other complement-mediated diseases."

Professor Robert J. Fletterick, Ph.D. is in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he has served as Chair and Vice Chair. He also holds a joint appointment with the Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF. Professor Fletterick is a world-renowned researcher in the area of structural biology. His laboratory focuses on the determination of high-resolution X-ray crystal structures of proteases, nuclear receptors, molecular motors, clathrin, and a variety of enzymes. He has determined structures for numerous human and parasitic proteases and protease inhibitors. Among a total of approximately three hundred scientific papers, he has published 50 manuscripts on protease structure and function. His work on glycogen phosphorylase revealed the first mechanism of phosphorylation control of protein function. Professor Fletterick's laboratory solved the first structure of a nuclear receptor bound to its hormone ligand and the first structure of the molecular motor kinesin. He has advised the Taiwan Academica Sinica for five years. He served for six years on the science advisory board of Pacific Northwest Laboratories to establish The Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy national scientific user facility. In addition to his academic research, he helped launch Biosym Technologies (now part of Accelrys, a subsidiary of Pharmacopeia) and served on their scientific advisory board from 1990 to 1995. He was a member of the scientific advisory board of Corvas. He has also collaborated with and consulted for a variety of biotech and pharmaceutical companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Karo Bio, Monsanto, Pfizer, Pharmacia, Searle, SPRL and Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Professor Fletterick received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and did his postdoctoral research in molecular biophysics in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Steitz at Yale University.

Dr. David Ginsburg is James V. Neel Distinguished University Professor of Internal Medicine and Human Genetics Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Medicine, and a member of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan Medical School. He received his B.A. degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University and his M.D. degree from Duke University School of Medicine. His postdoctoral clinical and research training was done at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ginsburg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and recipient of the E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize from the American Society of Hematology, the Basic Research Prize from the American Heart Association, and the 2004 ASCI Award from the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Ginsburg's laboratory studies the components of the blood-clotting system and how disturbances in their function lead to human bleeding and blood-clotting disorders. The lab has studied the molecular basis of von Willebrand disease (VWD), the most common inherited bleeding disorder, and identified modifier genes that control the severity of VWD. The lab has also defined mutations in ADAMTS13, an enzyme that processes von Willebrand factor, as the cause of Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Purpura. The laboratory is also searching for genetic modifiers of thrombotic diseases, including the common human mutation Factor V Leiden. Studies of the bleeding disease combined deficiency of factors V and VIII by the Ginsburg lab identified mutations in two genes that define a novel pathway for the transport of a select subset of proteins from the ER to the Golgi. Finally, the lab studies the plasminogen activation (PA) system, the central mechanism by which blood clots are broken down (fibrinolysis). Genetically engineered mice are being used to explore the role of the PA system in a variety of disease processes including pulmonary fibrosis, atherosclerosis and bacterial infection.

Dr. Guy S. Salvesen is a Professor in the NCI Cancer Center at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research. He is also Director of the Apoptosis and Cell Death Research Program. Dr. Salvesen earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cambridge University in 1980. He conducted postdoctoral research at Strangeways Laboratory and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, followed by a position as Assistant Biochemist at University of Georgia, 1985-1987. In 1987 he was appointed Assistant Medical Research Professor at Duke University, where he maintains an adjunct appointment as Assistant Professor of Pathology. Dr. Salvesen was recruited to the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in 1996 and holds an adjunct position as Professor of Pathology at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Salvesen's research focuses on the central role enzyme pathways play in the life and death of cells. When death pathways slow down in cells that are normally programmed to die, cancer results. Conversely, when death pathways become overactive in cells that are programmed to survive, degenerative disease occurs. Dr. Salvesen's laboratory focuses on understanding the fundamental molecular interactions that occur within these enzyme pathways. This knowledge is used to engineer synthetic compounds to stimulate cell destruction in cancer cells, or delay cell destruction in neurodegenerative diseases and stroke.

Dr. Gregory Stahl is the Paul Allen Professor of Anesthesia in the Center of Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury (CETRI), Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital at the Harvard Medical School. He received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at Juniata College and received his Ph.D. in Cardiovascular Physiology at Thomas Jefferson Medical School in 1988. He moved to the University of California at Davis for postdoctoral training in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine under Dr. John Longhurst. In 1994, he was recruited to Brigham and Women's Hospital as co-founder of the CETRI. Dr. Stahl is an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association; has served on several study sections at the National Institutes of Health; and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and several patents.

Dr. Stahl's laboratory investigates the role of the innate immune system in mediating inflammation, tissue injury and organ failure following ischemia and reperfusion. His laboratory's current research focuses on the role of specific complement components and pathways involved in diabetes, myocardial ischemia, trauma, stroke and gastrointestinal diseases. His research has lead to several clinical trials and a recently approved complement inhibitor for clinical use. His research findings have changed the way scientists think about the innate immune system in disease.

About Catalyst Biosciences

Catalyst Biosciences is developing the next generation of biopharmaceuticals by harnessing the catalytic power of engineered proteases to target proteins underlying disease. Catalyst's discovery platform rapidly creates and optimizes tailor-made protease drug candidates that cleave a wide variety of disease targets, either by improving existing protease drugs or by creating new protease drugs, known as Alterase(TM) therapeutics. Initially, Catalyst is focusing its product development efforts on drug candidates for hemophilia, age-related macular degeneration and inflammation. To date, Catalyst has established two discovery research and product development agreements with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Centocor Research & Development, Inc. Catalyst is privately-held with backing by leading venture firms including Burrill & Company, Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, HealthCare Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Morgenthaler Ventures, Novartis BioVentures, RCT BioVentures and Sofinnova Ventures. For more information, please visit

CONTACT: Erik Wiberg, Chief Financial Officer of Catalyst Biosciences,
Inc., +1-650-266-8654,; or Karen L. Bergman,
+1-650-575-1509 or Michelle Corral, +1-415-794-8662, both of BCC Partners
for Catalyst Biosciences, Inc.

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